Urban Soc: Race in America

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GSOC

Course Number: 5107

This course will explore specific aspects of race in America through the prism of several controversial matters: race and sex, Jim Crow laws, race and genetics, racism, drug sentencing disparity, incarceration, sex crimes and race, race and gentrification, and the so-called Tea Party Movement. These topics will be examined as ways of understanding race, race politics and the larger issues around racial dynamics as it is currently happening in the United States.

Race is a particular social construction designed for the sole purpose of creating an “other” and racism according to Feuchtwang “is linked to self-identification when self-group-identification is reinforced or defended by a move toward purification or its milder version, territorial ownership of a place, whether that place is a neighborhood, a larger locality or a whole country, and assimilation to that self-identification. In such circumstances, the others identified by signs of membership are said to belong elsewhere, not here, unless they can assimilate to become ‘one of us’ – always a former ‘us’ of a golden age that is idealized out of the actual past. The projected other threatens this self-identification.”

While there will be a brief historical consideration of how this phenomenon (racism) came to pass and will be part of our dissection; emphasis, however, will be on current events as a way to critically examine why race and racist attitudes are so desperately held not only by Americans but people around the world. This course has limited enrollment.

Course requirements include: (a) final paper (b) group and individual student presentation critiques.

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